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BillionGraves.com – Competition for Find-A-Grave? — 8 Comments

  1. Well said – couldn’t agree more!! While I would LOVE a geo-tag ability on Find A Grave from my smart phone…which is NOT an iPhone…I much prefer taking quality pictures with my camera and being able to upload more than one. Often I will take a picture of the stone and then also one focused in on the name – depending on the stone.

  2. Thanks, Diana! I like to take a photo of the stone, then a wide shot of the area of the cemetery where the grave is located. What if the headstone is for two people? You almost have to take one close-up shot of each side, and then one shot of the entire stone. What happens then?

  3. I was intrigued by the idea of this new app (FREE to download, btw) and since I have an iphone, and it was the weekend, I decided to give it a try at a local cemetery. I like looking at gravestones anyways and before I knew it I had take over 200 pictures. I chose the auto-upload feature.

    I came directly home (5 min drive) and logged on. Almost half of the graves had already been transcribed!

    There are minor problems with the data entry process though but I hope they will be ironed out with time. Btw, it is possible to enter multiple names for one gravestone.

    The cemetery I entered graves for is Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Seattle, WA.

    If you look at the grave locations done by GPS, you see some problems. One grave is shown in a backyard adjacent to the cemetery – it definitely is not located there!. But the bigger problem is all the graves are offset a bit to the North. I worked in the extreme SW corner but the locations do not reflect this.I stayed south of a line drawn between the cars and the far left blue dot.In any case, even though the locations are a bit off, it is better information than none if one wants to visit the actual gravestone location.

    I too have used findagrave.com alot (and volunteer taking pictures) and have mixed feelings about whether this new app will replace it or not. I have an open mind at this point.

  4. Anonymous, thanks for commenting. As for the app being free … it’s my understanding that June 1 (tomorrow) it will be priced at $1.99. I hope the information is inaccurate. I guess time will tell.

    Did you have to enter any information (name, cemetery, etc.) when you uploaded the photos? I’m just curious to know how they will weed out duplicates (because you know there will be some eventually).

    I’m also curious to find out if a person gets to a remote cemetery and discovers they have no cell service … can you still take photos and upload them later, or will it geotag them with your current location? Sounds like it might be another drawback to an “on-site only” upload option.

  5. Jenny –

    I work at BillionGraves and I wanted to thank you for your feedback. I’m sorry that aspects of the site were problematic for you, but thank you for putting the issues out here so we can find and fix them. I’ll be passing your feedback on to the developers.

    To explain the free vs. paid issue for the app, allow me to explain: The app is, as of today, priced at $1.99. We debated over this for a long time and thought the free-for-a-time was a decent compromise. We’re definitely not expecting any sort of profit from the app–the price is too low for that anyway–but we wanted to set a price that would discourage those who are not interested in the project from downloading the app. As you’ve seen, not even all the photos from interested users (i.e. those who were able to get word of it during the week it was free) are usable photos. We are working to weed those out, but if we also had photos from uninterested users, that weeding process would undoubtedly become much more time consuming and would distract us from being able to improve the BillionGraves tool. Hopefully $2 isn’t anything that will deter someone interested in the project, but at the same time it is much less inviting to an uninterested user than a free app. The price is more of a quality control than anything else.

    Again, thank you for bringing up the issues you did. We appreciate it, and we hope to be able to provide a tool that will become useful to you in the future.

  6. Thanks for this review. Although I had not heard of BillionGraves, it’s good to hear from someone about their initial impressions.

    Dee @Shakin’ the Family Tree

  7. Word to the wise regarding transcripting information off a gravestone and posting it on the Internet… DON’T DO IT unless you’re willing to look up that person’s information on Ancestry.com (or other established resource websites) to VERIFY the names, dates, and places. SO many genealogists are getting misinformation because of typos and lazyness. Please approach transcriptions as the very last legacy of the person lying in the ground. Would YOU want your information wrong from all eternity?

  8. Glenn, unfortunately the act of “transcribing” entails copying exactly what is on the grave marker. To do otherwise would be wrong.

    I agree that the information on markers is frequently inaccurate, but a good genealogist will verify the information with thorough research.

    Thanks for commenting!

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